An MBA and an MSc are both masters-level management degree programs and a necessary academic requirement before pursuing a PhD or a DBA Business Doctorate Degree. In the United Kingdom an MBA and an MSc are considered to be a level 7 qualification. Choosing between the two can be tricky, especially when the differences between them aren’t too clear. This article explains the difference between an MBA vs an MSc to help make that choice easier.
What is an MBA?
MBA, an acronym for Masters in Business Administration, is a professional, postgraduate level business degree tailored to develop leadership and business management skills. It originated in the United States of America during a time of heavy industrialisation, when companies and businesses were implementing Scientific Management theories in an attempt to boost production and efficiency. Scientific Management was founded by Frederik Winslow Taylor, who wished to apply science to improve labour efficiency by analysing and developing systematic workflows.
What is taught in an MBA?
An MBA course teaches the core subjects that cover aspects of managing a business; Human Resource Management, Finance, Marketing, Operations Management and Strategic Management. While these subjects are a general pathway, many MBA courses also offer specialisation pathways via elective modules for professionals who wish to learn further about a particular management function. Contemporary MBA degrees now include subjects such as Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Business Ethics and People Management. Once only studied on-campus, today you can pursue this degree as an Online MBA, or a Distance learning part-time MBA.
What is an MSc?
MSc is an abbreviation of Master of Science, a Masters level degree commonly awarded for studies in engineering, medicine and science. Today, a Master of Science degree is also conferred for Arts, Humanities and Business management subjects. These degrees tend to skew more technically, and are designed to provide depth over breadth in a subject. Some Master of Science degrees are Online Masters in Data Science, Masters in Transport Planning, Masters in Construction Project Management.
MBA vs an MSc
An MBA is usually the programme of choice for individuals who have accumulated at least 8 to 10 years of full-time work experience, with a minimum of 2 years at the managerial level. These individuals are looking to progress in their careers to more senior positions or to set up their own business. In contrast, an MSc is pursued by candidates who have around 2 years of work experience who want to build their technical proficiency in a chosen subject.
Career prospects also play a role with an MBA more suited to those looking to advance to General Manager, Managing Director or a CEO position, where the holistic business outlook taught in an MBA is more suitable. MSc graduates tend to specialise in their function as the MSc provides a deeper insight into their chosen field, and they tend to pursue roles such as Head of Department, Director of Marketing, CMO, CFO and similar.
Both an MBA and a Master of Science degree provide an equivalent academic qualification, so choosing between an MBA vs an MSc depends on career preferences, work experience, and the type of knowledge desired to be learnt.
Interested in pursuing a UK MBA or Online Masters degree course? Speak to a Higher Education Consultant